The Washington Football Team was hoping to re-sign Ronald Darby in free agency. However, it doesn’t look like they achieved their goal.
Instead, Darby will be joining the Denver Broncos. He will replace A.J. Bouye, who was released, and hope to pair long-term as a solid starter with Michael Ojemudia, who impressed as a rookie.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Darby’s deal will be worth up to $30 million over three years. Darby will be guaranteed $19.5 million at signing.
This deal is roughly what Darby was expected to get this offseason. He is being paid at the same average annual rate as his counterpart from last season, Kendall Fuller.
That said, the guaranteed money was definitely high for Darby, who had a bounce-back year in 2020, so perhaps that explains why Washington didn’t bring him back. Or maybe they weren’t willing to give him a three-year contract.
Losing Ronald Darby will sting a bit for the Washington Football Team.
Darby proved to be a solid outside starter for the team last season. He stepped up his play after a rough start to the season and he and Fuller looked like a solid tandem. They weren’t elite, but they got the job done.
Now, without Darby, the team will need to add another cornerback this offseason. Fuller is obviously still a strong starter and Jimmy Moreland played well last year too, but they need another outside starter, especially with top backup Fabian Moreau set to be a free agent as well.
That said, Washington was probably smart not to guarantee Darby that much money. He has only played a full 16-game season once, so guaranteeing more than half of his contract would have been a massive risk.
Could Washington have afforded to take that chance? Sure. They have the cap space. But did they need to take a risk? Definitely not, especially in a year where there are some quality cornerbacks still available on the free-agent market.
The loss of Darby is certainly a tough one for Washington, as they obviously were hopeful that they could keep him. But it’s not the end of the world. We’ll see what the team does to upgrade the cornerback spot in free agency and during the draft, but one thing is certain.
They will have options.